Three US Special Forces commandos killed in an ambush on joint US-Niger patrol
Source : NewsBharatiDate : 05-Oct-2017
Washington, October 5: Three members of the US Special Operations Forces were killed and two others were wounded in southwest Niger near the Mali-Niger border when a joint US-Nigerian patrol was attacked Wednesday. It is the first US combat casualties in Niger, where Washington provides training and security assistance in the fight against armed groups in the Sahel region.
No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack but the area is largely controlled by fighters, including members of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS). African security forces backed by Western troops have been stepping up efforts to counter the armed groups, which are part of a growing regional rebellion in the Sahel region. The US military has largely played a supporting role, providing intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets in support French forces operating in Mali and Niger. The French operation involves thousands of French troops as well as forces from Germany, Mali, Niger and other countries in the region. Presidents of the Sahel countries, including Mali, Niger, Mauritania, Burkina Faso and Chad, are working on final modalities to set up a G5 Sahel force to help fight the numerous groups that are active in the region. In mid-June, Niger mounted a new military operation in the Tillaberi region to take on the armed groups. The United Nations later warned that the conflict in Mali was spilling over to Burkina Faso and Niger, after a significant surge of attacks in border areas.